The challenging comes in various forms. The aging forgotten parent, aunt or uncle who sits in a nursing home or with curtains drawn at home, or in the jail house of dementia. The returned wayward child who seemingly has to ruin the time for everyone once again by their addictive behavior or self-absorption. The cousins or siblings who have carried the the spirit of unforgiveness and bitterness over a forgotten incident yet another year. Their arguments hurt the souls of all present.
The reality is that each of us carries within our lineage examples of both. There are some gems and there are pieces of coal. The question is to which part do we trace our line?
I've always wondered about the simple few words in the Christmas story when it is speaking of the census being taken. And it says this about Joseph:
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. Luke 2:4
He went to Bethlehem. He traced his line to David, a king. No, THE king. Joseph did not stop his line at Rehoboam, the foolish king; or at Manasseh, the evil king; or any of the other kings, some good, most not. He traced his line to David. As we know, even the Shepherd boy king David was not lily white in his character. But he was "a man after God's own heart." And the promises of God rested on him and his line. It was promised that he would always have a ruler on the throne. And the angel had told Mary about Jesus:
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:32-33
Some of us are products of a family line that seems to have little good associated with it. Some of us can't see any good. Some of us are leaving little good for those who follow. Some have received good and are leaving bad. Some have received bad and are determined to not poison those who follow with the same. We all have a lineage and we all stand in a long line.
The good news today is that in Christ, we don't have to trace our line to the alcoholic, the mean-spirited, the weak-willed or the unwise. In Christ, we have a heritage in the line of Him who reigns forever. In fact the writer to the Hebrews says this:
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11
No matter our earthly line, we can trace our heritage to Jesus. And living in light of that line causes us to leave an amazing heritage for those who follow us in our human line. We pass on a godly heritage, not a sinful one.
What line are you claiming today? What line are you living out? No matter what our human line we can be transformed by the One who died for us, was buried, was raised three days later, is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters, and now reigns forever. Praise God today that you have been adopted into His line! And if you haven't, today could be your day if you are willing.